Car Thieves Don’t Take a Break for the Holidays

Shoppers heading out to pick up holiday gifts this season may fall victim to car thieves, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is working to help make the public more aware of theft.

The NICB issued this public service announcement across the country this month, making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to holiday shopping this year.

Auto Theft Investigators Say “Mystery Devices” Are a Growing Threat

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NICB

A poll of professional auto theft investigators from across the globe shows that they are becoming increasingly convinced that mystery devices aimed at breaking into vehicles are getting into the hands of criminals.

At this week’s 63rd Annual Training Seminar of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI), the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) conducted a live poll to assess the awareness of the mostly law enforcement audience concerning the mystery devices.

Based on the unscientific poll, 74 percent said they believe these so-called mystery devices can be used to unlock a vehicle, while 26 percent said they don’t believe these devices work. In addition, 36 percent said they believe the devices can also be used to start and steal a vehicle, although so far, NICB has not confirmed a single reported vehicle theft in the U.S. from this kind of technique.

Only 8 percent said they had actually witnessed a device breaking into or starting a car.

“It was just over a year ago the NICB was the first to warn about the threat of these mystery devices,” said NICB Chief Operating Officer Jim Schweitzer, who conducted the poll. “Last year this was barely a blip on the radar of law enforcement and theft investigators. Now it’s getting everyone’s attention, including the manufacturers who are the front line of defense against these devices.”

Speakers at the Phoenix seminar said recent publicity about hackers deliberately exposing the weaknesses in anti-theft technology may be a good thing.

“To the extent that this does drive more robust software code that is more difficult for some to crack, overall that’s a good thing,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, the former Chief of the Auto Theft Bureau. “But trying to make an industry out of it? I think those are very questionable motives.”

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.

Insurance Fraud Headlines for June 9, 2015

Here are the top insurance fraud stories for today:

* Caught on Camera: Electronic Device Used to Unlock Truck (NICB Blog)

* Three teens sentenced in Manchester vehicle arson spree (Union Leader)

* Beware of used cars flooded in Texas (USA Today)

* The Storm after the Storm (60 Minutes/CBS News)

* Attorney describes Indianapolis house explosion as stupid, selfish insurance                     fraud gone awry (Fox News)

Caught on Camera: Electronic Device Used to Unlock Truck

As we reported earlier this year thieves are using high-tech electronic devices to break through the keyless-entry systems that lock up modern cars. This time the break-in occurred in Fresno, California.
KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

As you saw in the video thieves have found a way to partially outwit the new technology using electronic “scanner boxes.” These small, handheld devices can pop some factory-made electronic locks in seconds, allowing thieves to get into the vehicle and steal personal items left inside.

“Our law enforcement partners tell us they are seeing this type of criminal activity and have recovered some of the illegal devices,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “And unfortunately, some of these devices are available on the internet.”

Every year, more than a billion dollars in estimated personal property and accessories are stolen from vehicles, but car owners can reduce their risk by taking the following standard safety precautions recommended by the NICB:

    • Lock your vehicle no matter where you leave it.
    • Close windows and sun roofs.
    • Hide tempting items, including navigation systems (even the suction cup mounts), phone or electronic device adaptors and power plugs.
    • Put shopping bags in the trunk.
    • Conceal visible cargo.

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.

Digital Car Thieves on the Rise

Earlier this year we issued a warning about the “mystery device” that can emulate a vehicle’s key. Experts are now saying that it is a power amplifier which amplifies a signal that your key gives off to open your door. FOX 11’s Stephanie Stanton has more on this growing issue.

Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV